Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain

Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain
© Greg Nash

EARLIER HACK AT EQUIFAX: Credit reporting firm Equifax reportedly knew about a major hack of its computer systems in March, nearly five months before the date disclosed to the public.

A source told Bloomberg, which first reported the earlier hack, that the same hackers are behind both breaches.  

But Equifax in a statement to The Hill denied the March breach was tied to the hack in which the personal and financial information of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers was exposed.

The second hack, which has dominated headlines and crashed Equifax's stock since it was announced earlier this month, exposed Social Security numbers, birth dates and other personal information.

Read more here.

 

MORE BAD NEWS FOR EQUIFAX... DOJ INVESTIGATING STOCK SALES: The Justice Department is said to be investigating possible violations of insider trading laws by top executives at credit reporting firm Equifax.

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Bloomberg reported on Monday that investigators are examining stock sales made by three top executives at the company before Equifax disclosed a data breach in which hackers accessed the Social Security numbers and other personal information of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers.

Equifax has been under intense scrutiny for nearly two weeks since disclosing the breach, which went unnoticed for more than a month before it was discovered at the end of July.

Bloomberg was first to report earlier this month that three Equifax executives -- Chief Financial Officer John Gamble, President of U.S. Information Solutions Joseph Loughran and President of Workforce Solutions Rodolfo Ploder -- sold stock in the company totaling nearly $2 million in the days after the breach was discovered on July 29. These sales are now said to be under criminal scrutiny.

The company has said that the executives did not know about the breach at the time they made the sales.

Read more from The Hill's Morgan Chalfant here.

 

DEM REINTRODUCES BREACH NOTIFICATION LAW: Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) reintroduced a bill establishing a national breach notification law on Monday.

"There is much still to learn about the Equifax breach and its ramifications, what is abundantly clear, however, is that consumers are still not sure whether they were affected and what information was stolen," Langevin said in a press release announcing the reintroduction of the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act, considered an Obama administration priority when it was introduced in 2015.

"Equifax has done a terrible job communicating about the breach to date, and this legislation will ensure that any future such breach has a single standard and one federal regulator to help get actionable information to consumers quickly," Langevin continued.

The laws designating how businesses must react after a data breach currently vary wildly from state to state. Forty-eight states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, have individual rules concerning what a vendor must tell their citizens if personal information accessed on a breached server. No such laws exist in Alabama and South Dakota.

The Hill's Joe Uchill has the story.

 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) also has plans to tighten cyber regulations for credit reporting agencies. More from Joe on that development here.

 

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FACEBOOK TAKING HEAT OVER RUSSIAN ADS: Facebook is under fire after revealing that a Russian group tied to the Kremlin bought political ads on its platform during the 2016 elections.

Lawmakers are demanding answers, and liberal groups, who say the company failed to crack down on fake news, are seizing on the new disclosure.

Even Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2016 pollsters erred by not weighing education on state level, says political analyst Could President Trump's talk of a 'red wave' cause his supporters to stay home in midterms? Dem group targets Trump in M voter registration campaign: report MORE, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, has cited the ads when discussing her loss during a book tour.

"We now know that they were sewing discord during the election with phony groups on Facebook," Clinton told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. "They were running anti-immigrant, anti-me, anti-Hillary Clinton demonstrations. They were putting out the fake news and negative stories untrue to really divide people."

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerKey House Dem's objections stall intel bill as deadline looms Russia docs order sets Trump on collision with intel community Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless MORE (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said the company needs to be more forthcoming about the full extent of the ad buys.

Sleeping Giants, an anonymous left-leaning activist group, is turning its sights on Facebook as well. The group gained attention by pressuring 2,600 advertisers to remove their ads from conservative website Breitbart and is now pressing Facebook to be more transparent about how Kremlin-linked groups used the platform.

The company is sharing information privately with congressional committees and with special counsel Robert Mueller. But critics want Facebook to do more to address the matter publicly.

Read more here.

 

BIDEN REJECTS UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME IDEA: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenSaving the transatlantic partnership Biden to campaign for Stacey Abrams next week Dems with political experience could have edge in 2020 primary, says pollster MORE is coming out against the universal basic income idea that is gaining traction in Silicon Valley and some European nations, arguing instead that the U.S. needs to "build a future that puts work first."

"Our children and grandchildren deserve the promise we've had: the skills to get ahead, the chance to earn a paycheck, and a steady job that rewards hard work," Biden wrote in a blog post for the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware.

Some prominent voices in the technology industry, such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff, have recently championed the idea of a universal basic income. Supporters of the idea have argued that a guaranteed income from the government could assist those who've lost their jobs due to technological advances.

But Biden said there's a "better way forward," calling for policymakers to prioritize employment.

More from The Hill's Naomi Jagoda here.

 

GOOGLE WANTS TO AUCTION OFF SHOPPING ADS: Google is offering to auction off advertising spots in its search results to rival comparison shopping sites following a record $2.9 billion fine from the European Union, according to Reuters.

The fine came after Google was accused of favoring its own comparison service. The internet search giant is hoping that the remedy would bring it in line with the EU's order to alter its search practices to give equal weight to competitors.

Google made a similar proposal three years ago when it unsuccessfully tried to settle the EU's investigation.

Read more here.

 

ALT-RIGHT TWITTER RIVAL MAY LOSE DOMAIN: The social media service Gab, which bills itself as Twitter for the alt-right, is on the verge of being booted from the internet.

Andrew Torba, CEO of the company, posted on Monday that "Gab's domain registrar has given us 5 days to transfer our domain or they will seize it."

The domain registrar Gab hosts its site with, Asia Registry, told the social media site in an email that it prohibits "use of a domain name for unlawful purposes." It claims that Gab violates Australian anti-discrimination laws, according to an email that Gab posted on Twitter. Though Gab is based in the U.S., Asia Registry based in Australia.

Read more here.

 

HOUSE DEMS ASK FCC TO INVESTIGATE RUSSIAN MEDIA OUTLET: House Democrats are asking the Federal Communications Commission to investigate whether a Russian news network's U.S. broadcasts are violating the law by airing propaganda.

Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday asking him to look into whether the Sputnik radio news show is violating the public interest standard of its broadcast license.

"In Washington, D.C., listeners need only tune their radios to 105.5 FM to hear the Russian government's effort to influence U.S. policy," the members wrote. "Disturbingly, this means the Kremlin's propaganda messages are being broadcast over a license granted by the FCC."

Read more here.

 

UK PM TO CALL FOR ONLINE TERROR CRACKDOWN: British Prime Minister Theresa May said in an interview Sunday she plans to raise the issue of the internet's role in terrorism this week at the United Nations.

"One of the issues that we really need to be addressing, and I'll be raising this when I'm at the United Nations, is the question of the use of the internet by terrorists for terrorist planning," May told ABC's "This Week."

"But also this, for using it for the spread of extremism, of hatred, of propaganda that can incite and can inspire terrorism."

Read more here.

 

ON TAP:

Representatives from the Internet Association will testify against a controversial online sex-trafficking bill before the Senate Commerce Committee at 10:30 a.m.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

The Hill: Driverless Uber car in Pittsburgh involved in crash

The Hill: FCC asks Sinclair for more information on Tribune deal

The Hill: Social app popular with 'alt-right' files antitrust lawsuit against Google

Fast Company: A profile of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

CNN: Twitter founder Ev Williams on "fake news"

The Guardian: Apple blocking ads that follow users around web is 'sabotage', says industry